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Fic: Avengers Rampant!, Part Two



Part One


“So that went well,” Tony offers as they leave several hours later with precisely nothing accomplished. Steve has a deep furrow between his brows: After Fury had left, Natasha had wanted to call Reed Richards, Coulson had wanted to call Charles Xavier, and Thor (for some misbegotten reason) wanted to try to get in touch with Loki. The ensuing conversation…debate…thing had concluded with everyone back at square one, it having been reasoned that Richards was a dick, the X-Men were far more trouble than they were worth, and that Loki was, y’know, insane and homicidal.

("Why would going to Loki even be a good idea?" Tony had wanted to know.

Thor had scowled. "THERE IS GOOD IN MY BROTHER YET, FRIEND TONY."

"Could've fooled me." Tony had been so deeply unimpressed.

"Let's be fair," Steve had pointed out. "I understand he's your brother and all, but--"

"YOU KNOW NOT MY PAIN, MY CAPTAIN." Thor had looked miserable for a moment. "I HOPE MOST EMPHATICALLY YOU NEVER HAVE CAUSE TO CROSS SWORDS WITH ONE WITH WHOM YOU HAVE SHARED AS MUCH AS LOKI AND I.")

“I’m sure it went well in one of Dr. Foster’s alternate universes,” Steve agrees, “but unfortunately, this wasn’t one of them.”

“Look, call me an optimist here,” Tony says, “but it’s a unicorn. As far as world-ending catastrophes go, it’s not one of them. Sure, it’s weird, but, that’s like a day ending in y for us at this point!”

Steve’s lips quirk upwards a few degrees. “You’re an optimist, Tony. But, thanks.”

“Anytime.” Tony gives him an honest smile. “Need a lift home?”

They touch down at Stark Tower a few minutes later, and a few minutes after that they are both in their civvies. Clint is still apparently out with Darcy, Natasha and Thor aren’t home, and Bruce is secluded in his lab as usual. “Think this means we can watch Castle in peace?” Steve wants to know.

“We can hope,” Tony says. “Popcorn?”

They end up sharing the couch, Steve with his arms stretched out on the back of it in the way only truly big men do, like they need all that room to hold them up somehow. Tony’s legs are draped over Steve’s lap with an enormous bowl of popcorn between them; much like Pop-Tarts, Tony has learned that at least three bags of popcorn are necessary with Steve around. They catch up on some of the older episodes before the new one comes on, because it’s been that kind of month, and they are halfway through the latest when Tony realizes that one of Steve’s hands is brushing his shoulder—the shoulder that’s actually farthest from Steve. He shifts almost without thinking, so that when the weight of Steve’s arm actually settles around him, it doesn’t quite register that Steve has pulled the Classic Move until Steve actually draws him closer.

And because Tony Stark is Tony Stark, he has to take what is otherwise a perfect moment and…kind of ruin it.

“Rogers, are you coming on to me?” He means for it to be teasing, flirtatious—stating the obvious, even—but he sees Steve’s face when the words come out. Steve’s pale skin flushes red from his cheeks down to his neck, and then he is off the couch with the kind of momentum usually reserved for Captain America dodging bullets and saving babies. In fact, his abrupt departure is so sudden that the couch physically tips to one side, depositing Tony in an ungraceful heap among the cushions and scattering the remaining popcorn around them. “Okay, a no would have sufficed, you know that, right? Jesus, what’s the matter with you?”

“I—I’m sorry, Tony,” Steve says, but he looks horrified more than anything. “I mean—it won’t happen again—I just—sorry.”

Tony frowns. “I’m sure there’s a complete sentence hidden in there somewhere, but damned if I can find it. Let’s start this over again.” Steve still has that faintly panicked expression on his face, but he doesn’t seem to be running out the door screaming, either, which is, well, okay, not entirely promising but it’s better than nothing. “Sit down and try to not break anything, please. Especially me.” He hopes this comes out as lightly as he wants it to, but the unfortunate truth is, he’s all too serious.

This could go so, so bad if he doesn’t get this right. And Tony will be the first one to tell you he’s exactly the kind of person to get this sort of thing completely wrong. Just ask Pepper Potts, CEO extraordinaire, former love of his life, and the woman who is currently an entire continent away.

But luckily Steve does sit back down, albeit on the far side of the couch, looking miserable and determined to hide it and failing utterly. He crosses his arms straight in front of him, clasping his hands, and slumps his shoulders down, tucking his face into his arm like a giant human owl. “You’ve got popcorn in your hair,” he says, voice muffled.

Tony doesn’t doubt it, but refrains from trying to pick it out: he recognizes this for the diversionary tactic it is and instead keeps his eyes solidly on Steve. “Great, I can set a new trend. You wanna tell me what just happened here, buddy?”

Steve doesn’t answer, doesn’t move. Tony waits patiently, determined to be patient—not exactly something he’s known for, but damn it, for Steve Rogers he will try. After what seems like an entire geologic era, Steve finally speaks. “I panicked.”

Tony waits for more, and when it’s not forthcoming he breaks down and does what he does best—or worst—or, y’know, whatever. “You…panicked. Really, I hadn’t noticed that, y’know, but I should have done since you’re such a shrinking violet and all, I mean, really, Rogers, you gotta work on that, I’d never have known what you were thinking. Oh wait, that’s exactly the problem, isn’t it, the fact that I have no idea what’s going on with you and you’re my best friend.” That last part comes out a bit more harshly than Tony had intended, but once it’s actually out there he realizes it’s true, it has been driving him crazy that Steve is his best friend and they have all of this—not tension, but this ease between them, and he’s gotten used to it, but right now Steve is upset and angry and Tony just wants to fix it.

Steve winces at that. “I’m sorry, Tony,” he repeats in an unfamiliar monotone. He unfolds himself from that complicated not-quite-fetal thing he’d had going and leans back into the couch, staring up at the ceiling. “I’m just—I wasn’t thinking, okay? And it was stupid and thoughtless and I’m sorry.” He lifts his head up to look at Tony. “I’m sorry, Tony. I mean it.”

“Obviously,” Tony says dryly. “Now if you could get to the part where you explain what you’re sorry for, we might almost get somewhere.” And then in the possibly self-destructive hope that it might actually somehow be relevant, he adds, “And if you’re worried that this could be a sexual harassment thing, don’t worry, I won’t press charges. Unless you want me to, in which case, wow, kinky, Rogers, I wouldn’t have thought you were into that.”

That, at least, gets a rueful smile out of him. Steve runs a hand through his hair, looking embarrassed again, but sheepish about it this time. “That’s—kind of the thing, maybe, Tony. I didn’t know I was—and then there was you—and we—and all the time, y’know?” His blue eyes are focused on Tony now, and Tony has to swallow something heavy in his throat, because being on the receiving end of all of Steve Rogers’s attention is like looking into the sun, warm and this side of pain, and he swears dots fly over his vision sometimes when he does that.

“Yeah, unfortunately, I don’t.” Tony huffs a laugh, bending forward and holding his chin in his hands confidentially. “Don’t get me wrong, I speak Steve, I speak excellent Steve, but it’s not my native language, so if you could remember that I’m just a novice here and start over again, slower and with smaller words, that would be great.”

“Oh God.” Steve flings himself back against the couch again, making it rock. He apparently is finding that, once again, the ceiling is absolutely fascinating.

“Couch,” Tony warns as it creaks beneath them, and really, what’s up with that? He’d looked for the most Hulk-friendly couch he could obtain—okay, he made someone else look for it, but he bought it, and here it is struggling against the onslaught that is Steve in a sulk.

“Sorry,” Steve repeats. “Okay.” He pinches the bridge of his nose, eyes shut tight. “Fine. The truth. I like you, Tony. Like like you, and I have for a long time. And it was like with Bucky, or no, maybe worse because I could never say something to Bucky like that, at least I don’t think I could, and that sort of thing is okay now, y’know?” He looks at Tony again, and damned if Tony’s heart doesn’t almost stop, like the arc reactor isn’t even functioning, because when Steve looks at him his eyes are damp, and there’s something so wrong with a world that makes Captain America look like this.

“Do you have any idea what that’s like, Tony?” he keeps on, making Tony’s heart hurt just listening. “To know that you can be arrested for wanting someone one day, and then the next day, the very next, you’re some place, some time else, but for all intents and purposes I might as well have been on a different planet it seems like, and I can not only want but I can have, maybe, except I wasn’t sure if you wanted—and I didn’t want to mess with our friendship, or the team, or—”

“Steve,” Tony says with a mouth that’s gone dry, his heart having picked up again and racing madly in his chest. “Do me a favor, and shut up for a second.”

By some miracle, Steve does, and that’s when Tony kisses him.

Just leans in and kisses him, kisses Steve like he’s been wanting to for what seems like forever now, kisses him like maybe even a percentile of what he feels could be communicated with lips and tongue and taste.

And the best part is how Steve kisses back.

Like everything he does, once Steve has committed to something, he is completely there. After a heartbeat his mouth opens to Tony’s and his arms come around him, pulling Tony closer. Steve’s tongue flicks against his, soft and warm and eager, almost questioning, and Tony’s only response is to press back against him, to think, yes, more, now, again, to—

“Oh my God!” Bruce is unnaturally loud in the otherwise silence of the room, and Steve and Tony spring apart like guilty teenagers. “I’m sorry! I just—I didn’t—it was quiet up here—”

“Hi, Bruce,” Tony says, repressing the urge to yell at him to go in the other direction, any time but now would be good, thanks, but there’s already popcorn over half the floor and he really doesn’t want Hulk to smash the new 3D plasma screen.

Bruce just keeps babbling. “—and I thought I’d come see if Rachael Ray was on, y’know—”

“It’s okay, Bruce, it’s—our fault, really,” Steve says, looking embarrassed but—pleased, too.

Rachael Ray?” Tony asks, because he does try to behave but sometimes he fails spectacularly...like, oh, say, now. “Really?

“And I—Wait. What do you have against Rachael?” Bruce says in an altogether different tone, eyes suspiciously green.

“Nothing,” Tony says immediately, “she’s great.”

“Yeah, love her,” Steve agrees.

“Yeah, with the—the—” Tony gestures futilely as he looks between them. “Food. Cooking. Olive oil. We have some? Bruce, have you had dinner yet?”

The microwave beeps in the kitchen. “Ramen,” says Bruce, and goes to retrieve it.

Steve and Tony face each other.

“So,” says Steve.

“Yeah,” says Tony.

“D’you want to—”

“I could—”

“You go—”

“No, you—”

They break off, laughing a little too hard, because really, they are superheroes and this is what they are reduced to, this absurd babbling and grinning like idiots and oh God, this really is the most ridiculous clichéd thing ever.

Bruce comes back with his cup of noodles, chewing thoughtfully. “So was this, like, date night for you guys or something? Because I can totally go back to my lab, y’know?”

“Um,” says Steve, who can be articulate but apparently not tonight of all nights.

“We’re fine,” says Tony. “Enjoy your cooking show, Bruce. We’re gonna go, ah—”

“Look at the thing,” Steve interrupts, as if inspired. “In your workshop.”

“YES!” And that’s when Tony remembers he hasn’t even shown Steve the Quinjet yet, how has he not done this, what even? “My workshop! Yes! Going there, we are, let’s!” And he grabs Steve’s hand and pulls him that way, much to Steve’s bemusement.

“That’s not a euphemism is it?” Bruce calls after them, voice muffled by noodles. “Because if it is I can never look you guys in the eye again, I swear—”

“No euphemism!” Tony calls back.

“Really not!” Steve agrees. “Unless it is?” he adds in an undertone to Tony.

“Not usually,” Tony answers, “but I’ll be happy to change that for you, if you like.”

~

Later it will become a euphemism, but not that night. Instead, they really do look at the Quinjet plans, and Tony can almost forget that low hum of excitement playing in his blood as he shows Steve all the features he’s put into it (so much better than the stripper poles for his private jet—hey, that’s his story, yes, he’s sticking to it), and when he points out the heat shield tiles and says, “We can go to the moon in this baby, if we want!” Steve’s eyes light up.

“Can we really?” he asks, breathless and with a wide smile of delight. “I mean, I know we’ve been there already, but—”

“Steve, for you, Mars if you want it,” Tony says honestly. “I don’t know why you’d want it, but if you do—” He breaks off as Steve kisses him again, and this time Tony lets himself enjoy it properly, gives himself over to it, and Steve pulls him closer, wrapping his arms around Tony’s waist and lifting him up and closer, and—

“Sir?” JARVIS sounds apologetic; they both freeze in surprise, because really? Really? But before Tony can demand JARVIS et tu? the AI is continuing, “Director Fury is on the line.”

“Thank you, JARVIS,” Tony says ruefully. “Put him through. I don’t even know.” That last is mouthed at Steve, who nods back in complete agreement.

“Cap, Stark,” Fury greets shortly from one of the vid monitors on the wall nearby. “We’re having a containment issue with our I.E. Round up the troops and get here as fast as you can.”

Tony’s stepping towards his armor before Fury’s signal ends; Steve is running upstairs to pull on his mail. They’ve done this enough times before that they don’t even have to discuss it—Steve will collect Natasha and Bruce, Tony will contact Clint and Thor. And while he’s at it, he calls Darcy Lewis, because hey, special skill set, right?

“Darcy, do me a favor and get to the containment area as soon as you can, okay?” His faceplate snaps into place on the last word.

“Wait, hold on, is this about the, uh—” She sounds muzzy with sleep.

“The unicorn?” Tony supplies helpfully. “Yes, it is.”

“Oh. Uhhhhhh.” Darcy sounds—embarrassed. Which is not typical.

“Darcy, focus here for me, would you?” Tony is impatient. “We kinda need your extracurricular skill set here, kid—”

“Uh, Tony.” It’s Clint—and, oh, this is about to get interesting, isn’t it? “So, the thing is, that particular skill isn’t, ah—”

“Tell me you didn’t.” But Tony knows he—they—did. “Really, Barton?”

“Hey, leave him out of this!” Darcy again, fully awake and pissed. “It wasn’t really—”

“Well, I did have something to d—”

“Okay, children, not helpful!” Tony has to almost yell to be heard over them. “While I’m very happy or whatever for both of you, really I am, we still have this little containment issue, remember?”

“On my way,” Clint says.

“Me too,” says Darcy, and oh boy, this will go great, Tony can already tell. Maybe they should go ahead and make Darcy an official member of the team, she can be Shock Girl and maybe Thor can hook her up with some Asgardian gear…

“Ready?” Steve’s back, pulling his cowl over his face. His shield is strapped to one arm, and just like that, he’s Captain America, ready to charge in and save the whole fucking world.

“Always,” Tony says, and, as usual, the words I love you are hidden in that simple word somewhere.

“Me too,” and Steve grins at him, and it might as well be I know.

~

Tony’s not sure what he’s expecting when they get to SHIELD, but somehow a battleground isn’t exactly it. There are a lot of unicorns trotting around and not so many SHIELD agents.

It’s not like the place is littered with skewered bodies or anything, which is all to the good, it’s just that they aren’t—anywhere.

“LOOK AT THE HORSIES!” says the Hulk. Tony isn’t going to ask what made Bruce lose it, but if it was missing the end of Rachael Ray, he feels that the Food Network will have a lot to answer for, especially since their most devoted viewer lives off of noodles in cups.

“This is weird, even for us,” Steve says with a frown. “Okay, I’m going in.”

“Are you sure that’s safe?” Darcy asks. As predicted, she arrived with Clint, taser in hand.

Steve gives her a disapproving look, not happy to have an unnecessary civilian on hand, but admitting that getting her out of there would probably waste more time than anything. “Darcy, right now I’m the safest person here, apparently.”

“HULK SAFE.” The Hulk looks annoyed. “HULK SMASH HORSIES INTO GLUE.”

“That’s not necessary just yet, buddy,” Tony says, just as Darcy offers, “No reason to go all Voldemort on us, dude, geez.”

The Hulk turns his green gaze on Darcy. “HULK NO VOLDEMORT. HULK SMASH HORSIES, NOT DRINK BLOOD.”

They are all silenced for a moment. Tony isn’t sure if it’s because they’re all just that shocked to be having a conversation about Harry Potter mid-venture or if it’s just that they’ve reached a new level of surreal even for them.

“Okay, so, orders, Cap?” Clint is the first one to speak. He sounds more than a little desperate.

Steve is relieved to issue orders with a semblance of routine. “Hawkeye, I want you and Darcy to keep on the periphery. Widow, try to get into the security cameras for us. Hulk, Iron Man, be prepared to back me up. I’m going in first.”

Tony doesn’t argue, since Steve actually is (for once) the smartest choice to go in first. He follows Cap in the air, his repulsors on their lowest settings for stealth. The unicorns don’t bother Steve; instead, they watch him curiously, with a few of them even deciding to follow him around.

“I’m into the security feeds,” Natasha reports through their headsets. “Loki’s in the Command Center with Fury.” She pauses. “And, ah, Thor just joined them. This is about to get interesting, guys.”

“I’m shocked, shocked to hear that, Widow,” Tony says.

“Anything else we need to know?” Steve asks.

“Hawkeye and Darcy have company—some of Loki’s pets, it looks like. They appear to have the situation under control.” The sound of rapid tapping on keyboard keys. “That said, I’m sure no one would complain if you guys hurried up a bit.”

“Tony, fast forward?” Steve holds his hands up and Tony grasps them, kicking his repulsors up a few notches so that they fly through the building at what would be breakneck speeds if they were anyone else. As it is, momentum quickly pushes Steve so that his body is flattened against Tony’s armor, his feet balanced on Tony’s own. They might as well be a single, gleaming red and blue bullet as they speed to the Command Center.

When they arrive, it’s to a scene of carnage—just not the kind they were expecting. Loki whirls to face them, dark cloak billowing around him. Nearby are the mangled remains of Nick Fury, or rather, his robotic double.

“I knew it!” Tony says despite himself. “I fucking knew it!”

“Iron Man, cool it,” Steve says warningly as they touch down. “Loki, I know it’s barely worth asking, but all the same: care to explain what exactly is going on here?”

The Asgardian gives them one of his small smiles as he shrugs. It’s disconcerting because it’s such a strangely charming expression for an alien psychotic. “Not really, no, good Captain.”

“Oh come on,” Tony says, “you’re a supervillain! How can you not want to tell us every little detail of your overly elaborate plan to rule the world—or, y’know, whatever.” Tony talks fast as Loki stares at him in disdain, taking the opportunity to scan the entirety of the room. “I mean, isn’t that what people like you do, right, you put lasers onto sharks—”

“And you give me shit for the crap I say,” Hawkeye mutters into their headsets. “What the ever-lovin’ f—”

“Shut up, Hawkeye,” Natasha says.

“Do not trifle with me, mortal.” The jewel of Loki’s staff starts to glow an incandescent, eerie green. “Mind your place!”

“This is our planet, not yours, Loki.” Steve steps forward, brandishing his shield. “You never seem to really get that.”

“Ah, but your people are my people now, Captain.” Loki sounds smug as he gestures. “I tried to explain as much to your dearly departed—well.” He regards the Fury-bot with something like bemusement, kicking the head across the room. “Whatever he was.”

“You turned SHIELD agents into unicorns?” Steve asks in disbelief.

“Yeah, who does tha—wait, what?” Tony breaks off as he hones in on one of the nearby beasts. “JARVIS, could you, uh, cross-reference this for me.”

“Processing,” the AI reports obediently.

“Wait, Soylent Green is people?!” Clint demands over the headset.

“No, the unicorns are,” Darcy answers reprovingly. “God, get a grip!

Steve is obviously very busy ignoring them all. “What’s the point of this particular game, Loki? Your new—companions—don’t seem any more eager to obey you than humans do.”

“Analysis complete,” JARVIS reports. “Confirm subjects are transmogrified humans, sir.” JARVIS brings up a display of several anatomical models, one human, one equine, with an animation of the one transforming into the other.

“You assume that all games are zero-sum, Captain,” Loki answers. “You forget that some matches are played for the joy of the form and not the outcome.”

“Silly us,” Tony says, “only thinking of the lives you’re ruining.”

“Change them back!” Steve orders. “Now!”

Loki holds his staff up, the glowing green of it becoming ever more encompassing, filling up the entire room. A low hum that expands into a piercingly high note grows with the light. Steve throws his shield at the staff even as Tony fires off a series of short blasts. Loki dodges all of them, his body twisting high in the air like a particularly graceful acrobat. He’s at the apex of the arc when Thor flies into the room—literally flies in, the hole of his entrance revealing night sky through the series of other equally large holes all the way to the opposite end of the building—and grabs him, pummeling him to the floor. Loki’s staff is knocked from his grasp, rolling across the floor.

“THE JEWEL!” Thor shouts, his voice muffled by the cloth of Loki’s cloak. “DESTROY IT!”

Steve speeds to the staff with its still brightly glowing gem. He uses his shield to cut at it, but the vibranium just makes a sharp metallic sound. Nothing happens.

“Let me!” Tony fires a series of short repulsor blasts, then a single long one at the thing.

“Power is at twenty percent,” JARVIS reports almost apologetically. “The armor needs to be charged.”

“I can’t do it!” Tony looks around, trying to figure out what else they can use in the room.

That’s when the headless robot of Nick Fury sits up and removes his sidearm from the holster in his jacket. Tony catches the movement, pushing Steve down and out of the way as the ‘bot gets off two shots, and instinctively shoots back with a repulsor blast. The robot sinks back down onto the floor in a partially melted heap of slag metal, even as the jewel—which is now cracked, how about that?—gives a final magnificent nova of light and disappears.

“Nooooooooo!” Loki’s shriek of pain is blood-curdling; Tony winces even though the sound is carefully filtered by his armor. Steve flinches, though knowing him, it’s probably more in empathy than anything else.

And all around them, the unicorns quiver, their bodies rippling like butterflies struggling inside chrysalises. Far faster than Tony would have thought, the people they had been emerge, blinking into the air dazedly.

Above them, Thor lets loose a great bellow as, with a smirk and a mocking salute, Loki disappears into the shadows. The Asgardian swoops down to land near them.

“MY BROTHER HATH DEPARTED THIS REALM ONCE MORE,” he reports unhappily, “THOUGH HE PROMISES TO RETURN.”

“Surprising no one,” Tony mutters.

Steve claps Thor on the back in a gesture of solidarity. “Good going back there. You were just in the nick of time!”

“Who are you jokers kiddin’?” Nick Fury enters, Coulson at his heels. “If anyone was in the nick of time, it was me. Literally.”

“COLONEL FURY, YOU LIVE!” Thor says happily. “WE REJOICE IN YOUR RETURN!”

“Yeah, we’re thrilled,” Tony says dryly. He picks up the robotic head. “Alas, poor—oh wait, you’re back. Undercuts your dramatic finish, though. I feel like there should be a deux ex machina joke in here somewhere.”

“More like deus et machina,” Clint says over the headset. They all pause. “What?!” he demands. “I read!”

“And now we actually believe you,” Natasha says.

“Care to explain, sir?” Steve asks, taking the robotic head from Tony and handing it to Fury.

“Standard issue command ‘bot,” Coulson explains. “Useful for certain missions, particularly data drop-offs, or if there’s a fear of assassination.”

“Worry about that a lot, do you?” Tony asks. “Nice tech, though.”

Fury shrugs as he regards the head that is uncannily like his own. “Looks nothin’ like me,” he declares, and stomps off. “I expect my reports first thing in the morning, gentlemen.”

“Altogether now,” Steve prompts as they watch Fury depart.

“Day ending in y,” the Avengers declare as one.

~

Hulk, Thor, Steve and Tony end up staying a few hours later, assisting in general clear-up around the area: super-strength, flight, and agility all being useful things when dealing with the aftermath of Loki. Natasha, Clint, and Darcy assist with first aid measures (and yeah, Tony needs to get a better medical plan for SHIELD together, because this government employee nonsense is bullshit), and, in short, it’s much, much later when they all find themselves back at Stark Tower.

And Fury’s expectations of reports be damned, Tony’s not doing anything else tonight…this morning… whenever it is, anyway, aside from showering and maybe having something to eat. He’s regarding the contents of the fridge without much enthusiasm when Steve finds him.

“Hey, Tony,” he says. His hair is dark gold, damp from his shower, and he’s dressed in a light blue tshirt and jeans, his feet bare. Tony shuts the fridge, all thoughts of food forgotten because, well, Steve.

Tony means to say “Hi” like the smooth operator he really is (sometimes), but it comes out as “Hnnnnnngh! Steve!”

Steve laughs. “Sorry, didn’t mean to startle you there.” He smiles, but his amusement shows that he’s very aware of Tony’s reaction. “I’m thinking pizza. Interested?”

“Antonio’s sound good?” Tony asks, and half an hour later Happy appears with several boxes of fresh and mostly warm pizza. They take two of them and retreat to the common room, sinking into the couch gratefully. Steve cheerfully consumes the entirety of a Hawaiian pie while Tony makes decent inroads into the chicken and pesto special as they half-watch and mostly mock the latest episode of CSI.

“Sometime you’re going to have to explain to me why they wear sunglasses at night,” Steve says sleepily.

“Mmmph. It’s a fashion thing, Rogers. Honestly.” They’re sitting very close together, and honestly, Steve is better than a blanket, his enhanced metabolism making him warm even through the material of his clothes. Tony slides a hand deftly under Steve’s tshirt, exulting in the heat of him. Steve chuckles, putting an arm around him, pulling him closer, and Tony is comfortably full and happy, and that’s how he falls asleep.

They wake some time later. Judging by the light, it’s probably late afternoon. The voices of the others filter through from the kitchen; it sounds like everyone is awake and more or less recovered.

Tony grunts rebelliously, snuggling his face down into—Steve’s chest. It all comes back to him, then, and he starts, limbs jerking spasmodically. Steve’s arms are around him and press closer at his movement. “Tony?”

“I was just—surprised—is all,” Tony says honestly, relaxing back into Steve’s embrace.

“Okay.” Steve sounds relieved. “Just checking.” He presses a kiss onto the top of Tony’s head, and Tony turns his face up so that he can kiss Steve properly.

“Oh God, not again!

They freeze, then hesitantly break apart. A flushed Bruce Banner is looking at them disapprovingly, arms crossed.

“Seriously, guys! Don’t you have rooms of your own to go do—that in?” Bruce asks, fists clenched at his side and looking for all the world like an old man about to yell at them to get off his lawn. “I mean, really!”

“Do what where?” Clint peers in—Darcy following, of course. When he sees it’s them, he looks not only like all his Christmases have come early, but that he has been a very good boy.

“No. Way.” Darcy is grinning, too.

“They’re doing it again.” Bruce says to them, looking frustrated.

Natasha comes in too, stirring a mug of something. “What do you mean again, Bruce?” Her expression is cool, her words curious, but from the look she exchanges with Clint, it’s clear that there is more to this simple query.

“Hey,” Tony says, scrambling to his feet and holding his hands up defensively, “let me point out a few things in my defense, the first of which is that this is my house—”

“Skyscraper,” Darcy interjects, like it matters. Tony ignores her.

“Mine, okay, and if I want to watch a movie with Steve—”

“Watch.” Bruce snorts.

“Make?” Natasha suggests, sipping at her mug like it’s no big deal.

“Nice,” says Darcy admiringly, punching Natasha’s shoulder in delight. Natasha raises an elegant eyebrow and Darcy retreats a step backwards.

“—and we end up falling asleep on the couch, well, that’s what people do, okay?” Tony puts his fists on his hips authoritatively. “So there.”

Thor and Coulson wander in as well. “MY FRIENDS, WHAT CONVERSE IS TAKING PLACE?”

Tony winces. “Thor, dude. Indoor voice, look into it.”

“INDOOR VOICE?” The Asgardian’s brow furrows in confusion.

Coulson shakes his head and opens his mouth to interject a comment, but his cell goes off and he retreats to the kitchen.

“Man, Fury never lets that guy take a break, does he?” Darcy shakes her head.

“Look, we’re all adults here,” Steve puts in to the others, like that helps. Everyone gives him an Oh really? look. “I’m just saying, what’s the big deal here?”

“Hey, some of us have had betting pools going since April.” Clint is pragmatic as always. “That’s the deal.”

“And whether the deal has been sealed,” Darcy chirps helpfully. “That’s the vital part!”

“You people!” Bruce shakes his head in disgust. “Look,” he says to Steve and Tony, “all we want is some ground rules to be set about PDAs in the common areas. That’s not too much to ask!”

“Hey, just so long as there aren’t any sticky spots on the couch for movie night, I’m cool,” Clint says.

“Seconded,” Darcy agrees.

“Thirded.” Natasha salutes with her mug.

Steve looks mortified.

“We can do that,” Tony promises. “But again. My house. If there’s a sticky spot, it’s going to be one of my ‘bots cleaning it up anyway.”

“Oh God.” Bruce moans and retreats. “I’m going back to my lab and never leaving it again.”

“Yeah, he says that. Wait ‘til the next episode of Alton Brown is on.” Natasha shrugs. “I’ve got magazines to read. Later.”

That leaves them with a grinning Clint and an amused Darcy.

“What?” Steve is doing one of his low-impact glowers, the ones reserved for running out of Kix as opposed to breaking up drug rings.

“You still haven’t answered the big question, guys,” Clint says.

“Has the deal been sealed?” Darcy hops a little.

God, it’s like they share a brain now. Tony is abruptly convinced that their children will have hooves, and shudders.

“Not yet,” Steve surprises them by saying. He takes Tony’s hand. “C’mon, you, let’s go to the workshop. We have things to do. Important things,” he adds authoritatively.

“Is that what it sounds like?” Clint yells at their hasty retreat.

“God, I hope so!” Tony shouts back.

And as it turns out, it was.

(AND THAT WAS TOTALLY NOT) THE END.


Stay after the credits

Comments

( 12 comments — Add your .02 )
suddenlyswept
Jan. 28th, 2012 02:34 pm (UTC)
YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!

all the YAYS!, bb. ALL OF THEM <333333333
caitri
Jan. 28th, 2012 03:13 pm (UTC)
D:

Kassie!!! You didn't stay after the credits??? *cries*
suddenlyswept
Jan. 28th, 2012 03:44 pm (UTC)
I did but i'm not acknowledging it :D
caitri
Jan. 28th, 2012 04:34 pm (UTC)
....

But whhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhy??
suddenlyswept
Jan. 28th, 2012 07:21 pm (UTC)
cause Bucky??? Not so bueno. I want to leave it here and on this perfectly happy note. :D
paxnirvana
Jan. 28th, 2012 07:09 pm (UTC)
This was delightful. The character voices strong and fun, the dancing around each other, the teasing, and the villain premise no more cracky than anything Marvel has ever done, but handled much, much better. (And Capslock!Thor... *sporfle*)

Thanks for sharing. (Evil coda is EVIL tho. EVIL!)
caitri
Jan. 28th, 2012 07:46 pm (UTC)
*G*

Dude, epic whedonian winter soldier will be epic. That is all. ;)
rei17
Feb. 3rd, 2012 04:48 pm (UTC)
That was sooooooo sweet! *____*
Oh Tony! <3 Oh Steve!
And unicorns! And Clint and Darcy! Darcy and Tony were also made of win. And obviously - Steve being a virgin! AND hopelessly in love with Tony! ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
caitri
Feb. 26th, 2012 05:49 pm (UTC)
*G* Glad you liked it!!!!
todaythesamesky
Mar. 8th, 2012 02:04 am (UTC)
Oh man, this was so funny and adorable!
caitri
Mar. 9th, 2012 01:56 am (UTC)
*G*G* Glad you liked it!!!!!
boomslangvenom
Dec. 6th, 2012 07:46 am (UTC)
Alton Brown's show is called "Good Eats." It's too bad Bruce has yet to realize how much better it is than /Rachel/.
Great fic, btw!
( 12 comments — Add your .02 )

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